It is well known that unhealthy eating patterns can cause mood swings. Blood sugar fluctuations and nutritional imbalances are often to blame. Without a steady source of fuel from the foods we eat, our mind and bodies don’t function well. Here’s how some unhealthy eating habits can alter your mood and emotional well-being:
1. Skipping meals. Missing a meal, especially breakfast, can lead to low blood sugar. This will likely leave you feeling weak and tired.
2. Cutting out entire food groups. If you reduce the variety of foods in your diet, it can be more difficult to get all the essential nutrients you need. Low levels of zinc, iron, B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids are associated with worsening mood and decreased energy.
3. Eating too many refined carbohydrates. High intakes of unhealthy, processed carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries, cause blood sugars to rise and fall rapidly. This can lead to low energy and irritability.
Here are some positive changes you can make to improve your eating to support your mental health:
1. Eat at set intervals throughout the day
2. Choose less refined sugars and eat more whole grains
3. Include protein at each meal
4. Eat a variety of foods
5. Include omega-3 rich foods, like oily fish, in your diet
6. Reach and maintain a healthy weight
7. Drink plenty of fluids, especially water
8. Get regular exercise
Following a healthy eating plan can keep you energized and help you to feel your best. While good nutrition is an important component of your emotional well-being, it is not a substitute for proper medical care and treatment. If you have concerns about your mental health, talk to your health care provider.